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Baseball: Ohio State faces crucial Big Ten road test against Maryland

Ohio State junior infielder Conner Pohl (39) runs toward third base after a home run during the game against Michigan on April 12. Ohio State won 10-5. Credit: Casey Cascaldo | Photo Editor

This weekend poses the red-hot Ohio State baseball team with an opportunity to climb the Big Ten ladder and produce fireworks with its bats.

Ohio State (21-17, 4-5 Big Ten) will travel to take on Maryland (18-19, 5-4 Big Ten) in a pivotal series for conference positioning. The Buckeyes will take their recent winning ways and big bats up against the struggling Terrapins.

“We got a big series in Maryland this weekend to climb the standings in the Big Ten,” Ohio State head coach Greg Beals said.

In order to improve their Big Ten record, the Buckeyes will look to keep their bats hot against a Maryland squad susceptible to the long ball.

The Terrapins have surrendered 42 home runs this season; the weekend starters have contributed 15 to this total.

The Buckeyes have launched 36 home runs on the season. Over the past six games, Ohio State has hit a homer eight times and scored an average of 7.33 runs per contest.

“Everybody is just calm and relaxed right now, and it is a really good feeling going into the weekend,” Ohio State junior right fielder Dominic Canzone said.

Maryland will come into the weekend on a two-game losing streak. The Terrapins will turn to their best pitcher on Friday to try to get out of their recent rut.

Senior pitcher Hunter Parsons has excelled for Maryland. The Friday starter has a 2.95 ERA and has averaged more than seven innings pitched per start.

Parsons has a 6-2 record on the season and a 3.06 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Senior John Murphy has made a team-high 16 appearances and has a 3.66 ERA with seven saves. He has struck out 31 batters in only 19.2 innings of work.

On the offensive side, the Terrapins have struggled to find consistent hitting. The team is hitting a combined .235 batting average, while having only one player hitting above .275.

Maryland freshman first baseman Maxwell Costes has carried the torch for the offense. Costes leads the team with a .281 batting average, and also has 30 RBI and six home runs on the year.

Maryland, like Ohio State, has the ability to hit the long ball. The Terrapins have hit 37 home runs, but the Ohio State pitching staff has only allowed 22 home runs on the year.

The Buckeyes have settled in these past six games. After dropping five consecutive games, they have responded by winning five of their past six.

“I think we are moving in the right direction, and just keep that momentum going as much as we can,” redshirt senior senior pitcher Thomas Waning said.

Ohio State will open the series against Maryland Friday at 6:30 p.m. in College Park, Maryland. This will be followed by a 2 p.m. game Saturday and a 1 p.m. finale on Sunday.

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